As is tradition for Catholic Geek, we’ve come to the time of the year where it’s a perfect opportunity for a reminder on what’s important to keep your computers safe from the more nefarious denziens of the internet. While it’s important to be practicing these steps through the year, it never hurts to give a quick check over on a yearly basis.
To begin with, it’s always important to make sure you have the latest updates for your computer’s operating system – be it Windows or Macintosh. While things have improved in recent years, this is still an important thing to keep on top of. Windows users – visit update.microsoft.com and install all critical updates on a regular basis. Apple users- check the Software Updater under the Apple menu on your Mac.
Secondly, it’s now becoming more important to make sure that other programs on your computer are kept up to date – as operating systems become more secure the bad guys are resorting to other ways of getting to your computer. Some common holes come from programs such as Java (www.java.com), Adobe Acrobat and Flash (www.adobe.com), and Apple Quicktime (www.apple.com/quicktime). As part of your yearly tidy it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the latest versions installed.
It’s impossible to be perfectly secure at all times, so it’s equally important to keep your anti-virus up to date – for some excellent free options check out: Microsoft Security Essentials (www.microsoft.com/security_essentials) and AVG Antivirus (www.grisoft.com). Apple users should be protected too – check out Sophos (http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/free-mac-anti-virus/) for a free option.
Finally, it’s important to take sensible precautions when you’re navigating the seas of the information highway. Fortunately in New Zealand there’s a great organisation for advice – NetSafe (netsafe.org.nz). Make sure, when you’re stepping into the Internet frontier, that you put your best foot forward!